Justice and Law Enforcement:

[Comments on H.R. 3893]

B-221557.2: Published: Feb 20, 1986. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO commented on H.R. 3893, which is intended to: (1) help identify unclaimed property held by federal agencies which may be subject to escheat or custodial taking by a state under its laws; and (2) establish procedures governing a state's recovery of such property. Under existing law, GAO settles claims for unclaimed property under a variety of statutes that generally require the responsible agency to take possession of the property, attempt to locate those entitled to it, and, if no beneficiary can be located, sell the property and deposit the proceeds into the Treasury. This bill would require the Comptroller General to more regularly perform operating responsibilities with respect to the disposition of all unclaimed property. GAO believes that: (1) the primary responsibility for identifying unclaimed property, determining property interests under federal and state laws, and dealing with the states should lie with the agencies themselves; and (2) issuing regulations to govern the treatment of unclaimed property held by federal agencies is an action better left to the executive branch which is responsible for property administration.

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